DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!

college preparation

Sep 2 2009

College Bound?

by Nancy M

ugaIt’s September and the halls of academia await. You’ve done everything you can to prepare—you have completed mountains of homework, passed exams, worked on becoming a well-rounded student, wrote essays and submitted applications. Now, with graduation and summer vacation behind you, you are about to embark upon your college days. Starting this new chapter in your life can be a little nerve-wracking, especially if you are leaving home for the first time. But if you have some time before college starts, pick up the following books from the Library. They can help prepare you for your first roommate experience, campus life, academic life and more.

dormroomThe Dorm Room Diet by Daphne Oz

majors 10 Best College Majors for Your Personality by Laurence Shatkin

gettingready Getting Ready for College by Polly Berent

If you want to impress your new college friends and professors, try expanding your horizons by reading some books from the list of Outstanding Books for the College Bound, created every year by the American Library Association. Most of these books can be found at your local DeKalb County Public Library.

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On Saturday, August 2, I taught a class at the Decatur Library for parents and teens on College Prep. In case you weren’t able to come to the class, I’d like to share just a few of the resources we provide which can be a big help to you as you go back to school this year, and dream of escaping to college.

One of your best tools is the new Subject Guide on the DCPL website called College Preparation. It points you to some very useful databases, websites, and print materials. I did a post earlier this year on the wonderful website GACollege411.org, which you’ll also find on the guide. I still recommend it highly as a one stop resource for everything from matching your interests with careers to finding the college that’s right for you (and paying for it).
Another librarian blogged recently about Learning Express Library, and this database is also bookmarked on the subject guide. It provides you with non-timed and timed practice for PSAT/SAT preparation, and you can find this in the College Entrance Exam section.
It can also be really helpful for the courses you are taking right now, in high school. It has AP course practice exams for Biology, Calculus, English Lit and Composition, European History, U.S. History, and Government. There is also a high school skills improvement section with practice for 9th grade Math and Reading, Writing and Grammar Fundamentals, and lots of High School Math, Reading, Vocabulary, and Analogy exercises. (Are you tired yet?)
Both these sources in particular seemed to be very popular with the class participants, so keep that College Preparation Guide in mind as you start another year. Getting to (and through) college is a lot of work, but it’s worth it!

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One of the best all-in-one websites I’ve used is www.gacollege411.org .

Screenshot Of gacollege411.org

This website is specific to Georgia colleges and universities, but there are other partner sites, which I’ll mention again a bit later.

I recommend beginning with the Getting Started tab on the far left. It won’t take long to look through these links, and the information on how to use the site is very helpful.

The multi-colored tabs along the top take you directly to specific sections. Here are some of the highlights:

  • College Entrance Requirements are in the Student Planner section.
  • In the Career Info section, you can match your interests to different college majors using the career key feature, or match jobs to the kind of major each requires using the Student Career Matching Assistant.
  • There are other ways to match schools and your interests in the Comparative View and Matching Assistant sections under the GA Colleges tab. You can even take virtual tours.
  • Under Applications & Transcripts you’ll find a feature that uses information you store in the website to fill out your applications to Georgia colleges and universities.

Notice those links on the left under Getting Started; here you’ll find sections on College Test Prep and the HOPE Scholarship. I like the design of this site and the helpful ways in which they give you more than one place to find the information that you need.

Also interested in colleges and universities outside of Georgia? If you click on the Georgia Colleges tab, there’s a link to sites for schools outside the state. If you save information using that neat application feature, it remains usable in the other sites.

You might also visit CollegeSource Online, which is bookmarked on our Databases page. Here you’ll find an online version of college catalogs, so that you can search from one source rather than going to several different college or university websites. To see this database, go to http://www.dekalblibrary.org/search/cdrom.ssi and click on the link for CollegeSource Online under the Tests and Careers menu.

Also, feel free to visit your closest library branch for some great print reference resources.

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